Loraine & Robert Greene

"Honey, there's people, like your Mama
Always as good as they can be
Some make their marks down here in history
And some on those walls that we can't see

"Try to imagine the Great Engraver
Carving some names around the throne
When you see lightning, and hear thunder
Honey, that's just The Steel Against The Stone"

- from The Steel Against The Stone
by Robert 'Leather' Greene

"... and I'm gonna live in the French Quarter, and I'm goin' to Texas, and I'm gonna live in Paris,
and I'm gonna be a Nashville songwriter, and I'm gonna ...."

On www.myspace.com/lilacmoonproductions, you will find a picture of Robert posted by him on 4-6-2009. We talked shortly that nite about co-writing and recording, and laughed a little. Robert always had a special note or joke or comment about his life, mine with encouragement, and stories about the biz.

I was so shocked to get this news and am still reeling from it. He was way too young to be taken home, but that was God's Plan for him. He will live in my heart,
and in his friendships, and he had many here in Nashville.
e will also live through his music.

I loved watching him perform and sometimes, if I was able to be there, I would get a tip of the hat! Kinda special private thing!

I am wishing his family and his friends all the best and have you all in my prayers!

- Judy Whiting
Nashville, Tennessee


Robert Shelter, our Leather was, quite possibly, the best of what the human species has to offer. He was the gentlest of people, with natural old-fashioned manners. And his talent, my God, his talent! The music he wrote was so superior to what's out there to listen to today. His singing filled us with joy. The lyrics of his songs showed his love for all the right things--music, humor, friendship, and bringing injustice and irony to light.

He was the best of us, and he's left a hole in our lives that's very hard to deal with emotionally. Our hearts go out to all his family and friends who share our loss of this gentle genius.

Goodbye, Leather.

- Janice and Joel Wray
Springdale, Arkansas


Less then a week after Leather left us, a strong line of thunderstorms came through south Texas at 4:30 in the morning. The lightning and thunder was intense and shook us awake. It continued for quite a while, but we got used to it, and began to drift back to sleep.

As I was starting to doze off, Sheila said,
"Honey, I believe they're carving Leather's name around the throne."

I thought about him and smiled the biggest smile of the week.

- Larry Lucas
Seguin, Texas


How come we teach life but never how to handle death? My friend Leather is a kind soul and he has finished this journey. He will be missed.

We are better people for knowing him.

- Big Daddy "O"
Owen Tufts
Mount Hermon, Louisiana


I have been reading and appreciating everyone's expression of grief at the loss of a special friend. I hesitated to add anything myself because I haven't seen Leather in over 30 years, when I lived at the Head Inn and went to hear great music at The Wrong Place. I missed the last reunion in New Orleans, but Leather emailed me that there would probably be another one next year.

John Lennon said that, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans.", but that also applies to death. Leather's last lesson to us all is to live like there's no tomorrow. Make time now for the people you love and the dreams that fill your soul.

Every life ends in death and when it surprises us , we must once again ask our philosophical questions about the nature of reality, life and death. We need to understand in a meaningful way. I think that it's something like a set at The Wrong Place. A lifetime is like one song in a set. You touch those who hear your song. The music ends, but the song continues to touch others. They find themselves singing the lyrics or just humming the tune. But it's followed by another song that allows you to express another thought and another melody which will also touch others. As you write and perform new songs, you share the growth of your music and each new song reflects all that you have learned along the way.

Death is just the pause between songs.

Thank you all for sharing your music. Play on and smile when you find yourself humming one of Leather's songs.

- Donna Laba
New Orleans, Louisiana


Forgive me but I have to add my two cents worth. Like so many, since finding out about Leather’s passing I have spent days crying – for myself and all those others who loved Robert Loren ‘Leather’ Shelter Greene. No one will, could, or should ever take his place. Why, he was so wonderful it took at least three lives to contain his greatness.

I know Robert Greene was and is a much loved, respected, and missed grandson, son, brother, cousin, uncle, and friend to all those who knew him in his youth and as a blessed part of their family. I am sure they will always remember all the things he did for and with them, and all they shared through his all too short lifetime.

Then of course there is the person we call Leather. The singer from New Orleans. The friend who became family to everyone he touched. The kind and gentle soul who never turned anyone away. I knew him first from what Charlie told me all those years ago. Charlie loved and respected Leather. He told me stories of Leather’s song writing abilities, his way with the ladies, and how he was a gentleman and a good friend. Later I knew Leather as my own friend. He was that special person who didn’t mind having someone slightly screwed up over the loss of the man she loved around him. Through emails, phone calls, IM conversations, and holding me just so I could make it through the dark times, Leather was there. Never once did he tell me to get myself together. He was simply there supporting me and telling me all would be well once again. He was right and he was there for those times too. We were there for each other. Through emails, phone calls, and Instant Messages we shared our lives, our thoughts, our worries, our moments of happiness – the little and the big. When I think of the Leather I knew, I can’t help but think of the movie Pay it Forward for that is what I truly believe Leather would want us to do.

Now we come to Robert Shelter, the person who took his last name from the Rolling Stones Song, Gimme Shelter. From what Robert told me, Robert Shelter was born in Paris, and ended up in Tennessee. In our grief I am afraid we can sometimes forget all the people who miss that kind, caring, songwriter from Nashville. We think Leather is ours, our family. Well, there was too much of him to be just ours. Many of the friends he made during the his Nashville years had no idea who we were talking about when we talked about Leather. They know Robert. They have worked and played and written and shared and broken bread with Robert. They love and miss him as much as we miss our Leather.

In some ways I was very fortunate to know a bit about all the parts of Robert Loren Leather Shelter Greene. He was a loving son to his mama, a good brother to his siblings, a southern gentleman who got upset if I tried to open the car door for myself. I called him my workin’ man because it seemed he was forever hustling for those tile and carpet jobs to pay the bills so he could spend time doing what he loved…… making music. In addition to his music, Robert told me he had fallen in love with a wonderful woman named Susan Marshall. He first met her in Paris years ago at the same time Robert Shelter was born. After all these years, they reconnected and were planning a life together. She is also a songwriter and they worked and sang together on a regular basis. He had found the love of his life, his music was being taken seriously by his peers, he had a close circle of friends with whom he could write, sing, and share. Why, he was even finding tile and carpet work during this economic crisis. Robert, Leather, was doing fine.

I, like so many of you, wondered how a physically strong person could go like that. I found out his father died of a massive heart attack in Nashville several years ago. His father was in Nashville for work, had gone to see the Grand Ole Opry and went to back to his hotel and passed on. His father died less than 2 miles from where Robert lived. I believe Robert lived his life making the most of every moment. He was a very special someone. We wouldn’t all miss him so much if he hadn’t touched us so deeply.

Please don’t think I won’t miss him every day. I do and I will. I also celebrate the times and moments I spent with him and the way he touched my life. He will always be that singing cowboy in the white hat, the workin man who came home dead tired after laying carpet or tilling a bathroom. He will always be remembered as the friend who would help anyone if they needed it. He will always be the friend who loved all of us unconditionally. I believe, at least for me, the best way to celebrate and honor this noble and honorable man I was proud to call my friend, is to take some of that goodness I learned from him and Pass it Forward.

- Jeannie Blue
Spokane, Washington

I've been thinking all week about what it was about Robert that has made the biggest difference in my life and was having a hard time putting it into words till tonight. And then it became clear to me. What I appreciated most about Robert was that he was a "people gatherer". He literally brought people together, and in such a subtle way I'd never before thought of him in that role. From the time I met him a few years ago, I had steadily accumulated a whole new community (actually a couple of them, including the Wrong Place people) of treasured friends. They just one by one became my friends so gradually that I didn't noticed as it happened, but especially this last sad week, it has made a real impact on me that Robert was the common element in all these relationships, both personal and musical. He not only introduced me to new friends, but put me back in touch with people he knew from the Wrong Place days that I had met even before he did, when I was just starting to play in public in Cincinnati in 1972 but had long lost track of. He brought people together, and even though he is gone physically, he is still managing to do that. Now THAT is SOME talent.

It's also occurred to me in the last few days that while Robert's time was ultimately way too short, he was actually able to live his entire life on his own terms. Not many people can say that. It takes a lot of bravery to not only have your own convictions, but abide by them.

You and everyone who loved him are in my thoughts and prayers.

- Pam Belford
Nashville, Tennessee


As you know, we all dearly loved Robert (Leather). ....Everyone he has introduced us to though the years have turned out to be lifelong friends. ....Leather had been trying to get us to meet all of the wonderful "Wrong Place Saloon" folks, we feel like we know you guys. ....Our hearts are with you and we hope to meet you all in person someday soon. Until that day . . .
Much Love Always!

- Miss Diana
Nashville, Tennessee


"One must have sensitive fingers to know the way that words fit together." (unknown)

Leather was a hero to a lot of us. He showed no fear in putting his heart into a song.

....He knew the value of friendship and and encouragement. He wrote his last song, but he left a lot for us to write. His was a life well-lived.


- Janet Wing
Slidell, Louisiana


Navajo Morning Prayer

House made of Dawn
House made of Evening Twilight
House made of male Thunder
House made of female Rain
House made of Corn Pollen
House made of Yucca Blossom

May beauty walk before me
May beauty walk behind me
May beauty walk above me
May beauty walk all around me
In beauty it is finished

I read this years ago, in a book by Oliver LaFarge called House Made of Dawn. His son Peter wrote The Ballad of Ira Hayes, one of Townes van Zandt's favorites. I think he would have liked it.

- Jonmark P


My Oldest and Dearest Friends -

I am still trying to process the news that Leather has died. Like all of us I am shocked, and saddened, and at a loss to express my shock and my sadness. He was truly one of the good guys in this world. One of the true gentlemen in the sense of "gentle man." A rare and disappearing kind of person. I find that I have no words in me. I can't put words to this grief. I can't imagine a reunion without him. I can't conceive of a week without an e-mail from him. I am just lost for words and understanding. Larry can be philosophical, Tirk can be secure in his religious belief, Janet can jump right in to see how she can help. That's who they are and I love them for that. I can't find any comfort in any of these things right now. In fact, i can't find any comfort anywhere right now. I know i miss him, and I'm gonna miss him for the rest of my life. In case I'm the next one to go, i want to take this opportunity to tell you all right now that I love you, and I cherish your friendship. You have enriched my life beyond measure.

- Mykle Evans
Blountville, Tennessee


... For love is as strong as death. It's jealousy, it's ardor, unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame, like the very flame of the Lord...

Song of Songs 8:14

... A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart...

Ecclesiastes 7:1 – 2

We Wrong Place people have a legacy that few have. We have known each other for more than thirty-six years now. We are each other's family. We learned more in those short two-and-a-half years than many people find out in a lifetime. We are the true alumni of the finest school we could ever have asked to attend. And now with another of the mainstays gone, we have to carry on in this part of the time space continuum.

If we mourn, we mourn for ourselves. Leather is now writing a song with Charlie Blue that we won't get to hear until we join them. Neither one of them wants to know that their passing has hurt us anymore than it has to.

I was on my way to Leather’s house this morning to meet his brother Bill. As I turned the last corner on my way to his street, a Crosby, Stills, and Nash song came on the radio. It was called Carry On. You’ve heard the chorus,“Carry on, love is coming, love is coming to us all…”

As Charlie would've said, keep your chin up. I love you all.
Hang in there.

- Tirk Wilder
Nashville, Tennessee


This is from Eugene's cell phone last night, and I told him I would pass it along to the list. It's a beautiful picture of Leather and the way I will always remember him. Aloha, Leather.

- Tabby Crabb
Americus, Georgia

My heart breaks for all of Leather's close friends. I exchanged a few recent emails with Leather. As Mykle said, his warmth, thoughtfulness and gentle 'man' eloquence came through so strong. I can only imagine how it hurts to lose him. Sometimes I think it's our 'job' to keep our loved ones' spirits alive. In this case, he has made it easy for his friends. And yes, Mykle, qualities that are so important and rare in this day and age. I'm holding the hearts of all my brothers and sisters from
the Wrong Place in mine.
Hang in there, Mykle. Love to all of you,

- Cyndi Coyne
Iowa City, Iowa


Robert Shelter, my Dearest Friend, and fellow prolific songwriting buddy, as well, to so many more of you in Nashville, passed away peacefully on his couch, Saturday, 4/11/09. Robert, was born in Jacksonville, Florida. He was a resident of Nashville, and a Great Songwriter and Entertainer.

I can testify on a personal level, from knowing Robert as a very close friend since 2004, that he was a very good man, with a very big heart! I will miss him very much, as I'm sure we all will who knew him. Robert has many friends here in Nashville who he has touched with his music and loyalty. He was a man among men, a gentleman, and a scholar. Please keep Robert and his Family and Loved Ones in your prayers.

- Mike Mayo
Nashville, Tennessee


Kenny called me with the news about Leather last night. I don’t think there has ever been a kinder soul to walk the earth. He is and always will be my friend and my family. Without Leather and Kenny I would have never made it through the fiery furnace of losing Charlie and the dark days that followed.

.... I never thought we would be without him, but because of his kind soul, the loving memories we all carry within us, and the wonderful music he left behind, he will never really be gone.

- Jeannie Blue
Spokane, Washington


To Robert's Mom, and the entire Greene family -

.... Robert
had a genuine gift for language. His ability to craft and shape a phrase brought a smile to my face for decades. We roomed together for two nights last November during the Wrong Place reunion in New Orleans, and we had a chance to really talk and catch up with each other, away from the crowd.
It is a time I will always treasure.

.... The Wrong Place was in the French Quarter of New Orleans. One member of the Wrong Place congregation is a cajun fellow named Helt Oncale. On Easter Sunday, my wife and I were with Helt and his extended family, down in Napoleonville, Louisiana, when Tirk Wilder called from Nashville with the sad news. Helt is the only person, I know of, who visited Robert in Paris. He told us that he and Robert were taking the grand Parisian tour, when Robert stopped, raised his arms in the air in a long sweeping gesture, and said, "Helt, this is the biggest French Quarter in the world." Which was followed, of course, by that patented grin.
Robert always looked for the interesting or humorous perspective on everything. He had a habit of saying, and writing, memorable things.

... Please know that Robert was deeply loved, admired, and respected by many, many people. When he returned from Europe, he found as many of his old friends as he could, and began pushing for a Wrong Place reunion. That 1996 reunion brought us back together in a big way, and solidified the bond we share .

.... Robert was the most prolific writer among us. He left a body of work (songs, stories, art, journals) that is massive. We hope your family will join us in collecting and preserving that work. He was a very special person, and he left a legacy that is profoundly important to a lot of people.

* * *
Godspeed, my friend .....

- Larry Lucas
Seguin, Texas